Monday, March 14, 2011

Another Lawsuit Against UCPD (Davis)

Mrak Hall, November 2009. As occupations spread across the state, cops arrested 52 people in the administration building at UC Davis. Criminal charges -- the usual charges cops throw at people after beating them up: assaulting an officer and resisting arrest -- were only filed against one of them, Brienna Holmes. In fact, supported by a conservative DA (as we're seeing in Irvine now), Holmes was forced to go through a criminal trial, which was declared a mistrial last July and the case was finally dismissed.

Now, Holmes is suing UCPD, the Yolo County Sheriff's Department, and the DA. Pay close attention to what the pigs were posting on Facebook, and remember that cops always think that other cops "acted appropriately" -- even when they crush people's hands. As reported by the California Aggie:
[O]n Feb. 4, 2011, Holmes filed a civil lawsuit alleging unreasonable seizure, excessive force, malicious abuse of process and battery. She is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

According to the complaint, the arresting officers, Yolo County Sheriff's Deputies Ryan Mez and Gary Richter, violently slammed Holmes onto the hood of a patrol car and pinned one of her arms that had gotten tangled in the strap of her bag. The two officers repeatedly jerked and grabbed Holmes, ignoring her screams that her arm was stuck and in pain.

UC Davis Spokesmen Andy Fell said the police officers acted within their rights.

"Based upon the information available to us, we believe the officers acted appropriately and certainly have no legal vulnerability," he said in a statement.

While preparing for the civil lawsuit, Holmes and her attorney, Stewart Katz, reviewed Facebook updates by one of the arresting officers, Deputy Sheriff Mez.

In a Facebook status on Sept. 25, 2010, Mez posted, "is looking to ruin somebody's day! Anybody wanna go to jail today?"

Then a few months later in November, he posted, "I hate the people I'm with. Fucking Davis people!"

Katz said the Facebook postings might be relevant to the officer's state of mind during the arrest and whether or not he is liable for punitive damages.

"If he operated under ill will or malice, that would be a factor to be considered in terms of whether or not he should be assessed for punitive damages."

Mez was not available to comment in response to the Facebook postings.

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